MISSION 49 - TREVISO AARs

317th BS (LEAD)

THE BRAZEN HUSSY, Lead flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned with #1 engine inoperable, damage to the starboard wing root, and no casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We didnít see any Kraut fighters, but the flak did a number on us.  No one else seemed to have a problem with it, but I guess we got special attention cos weíre up front.  Wittstock missed the target, and we lost number one engine, and the wing took a hit.  Nothing much else, although the crew chief isnít too happy.  A brand new ship and look what happens . . .

 

- Major Neal Amoore, Pilot, The Brazen Hussy, CO, 317th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)


FLAK CITY, lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with light damage and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Nobel and 1 Me-109 by SSgt. Scott.

 

Mission Narrative:

Another mission under our belt. We managed to get home in more or less one piece.

 

Sam Treackle our ball gunner took some shrapnel to the arms and legs, but it doesnít look too bad, or thatís what the medicís say at least.  It gave us all quite a scare to have one of our own wounded, we all felt so helpless not really being able to do much for him up in the air.  The experienced guys tell me the flak we flew through was light and mostly inaccurate (I guess it is something you have to get used too), I will have to take their word for it but from where I was sitting it looked and felt pretty damn unpleasant.  Sam our engineer swears he flamed a German Me-109, we did have a rather close call.

 

As a group of them hit us from 12 o'clock and closed with frightening speed.  Mike, my co-pilot, and I actually ducked as one guy narrowly missed colliding with us.  Alfred was pleased with his results on the bomb run, and if Alfred is pleased well then we are all happy (the guy is a bit obsessed about accuracy, which I suppose is good for the war effort but can make him a bit of a pain otherwise).  Not much more to report, crew chief seemed please that we brought HIS aircraft back more or less the way he gave it to us.

 

- 1st Lt. Adams, Pilot, Flak City


NATURE'S MISFITS lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

What a milk-run.  Saw 3 fighters the whole way in and out but couldnít tell anyone what they were since the little friends whacked them before they got close enough for that kind of detail.  The flak was non-existent and our bombardier got a good run in.  Turned for home and here we are.  Wish they could all be like this.

 

- 2nd Lt. T. Feather, Pilot, Nature's Misfits


MORBID ANGEL, Second flight, Lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Norman.

 

Mission Narrative:

Didn't have one shot fired in anger the whole way in . . . then the run was off target and we got nothing done.

 

Coming back, we encountered three 110s.  Sandoval, our bombardier, damaged one, and it went away.  Then Norman damaged one at 6 low from the ball turret.  Mazurkiewicz hit the same one again, and shot it down.  They'll be lucky to find a tooth in one piece from that guy.

 

Fighter cover really helped us out the rest of the way, and we landed safely without ever taking one hit to the plane, either from enemy fighters or flak.  I just wish we'd been able to get a good bombing run out of it.

 

- 1st Lt. David Vincent, Pilot, Morbid Angel


DELTA BLUES, second flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with starboard port engine seized up (no oil), navigator's heater inoperable, the outboard fuel tank holed, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 & 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Schwartze & 1 Fw-190 by Sgt. O'Reilly.

 

Mission Narrative:

Take off was by the book.  However, as soon as we formed up, three 190s came at us at 10:30, 12 and 1:30 high.  Our escort cover must have been on high patrol as I never even saw them, but they zeroed in and chased all three away before they could engage us.

 

It was smooth and by the numbers until we hit the Italian coast (4th zone out), when four 190s came at us at 12 level, 3 & 6 high and a vertical dive.  Those guys were green, or luck was on our side as they passed with a bad line of fire on us as all their bursts missed.

 

When we got to the drop zone, all hell broke loose.  Two 190s came at us and we couldnít do a thing defensively at first.  Both made three passes at us, and each pass did some damage.  Gibbins took shrapnel wound as we were coordinating the bomb run.  A shell ripped our outer starboard wing engine creating a severe oil leak.  We were able to keep it running until the landing zone when it seized up.  We also took a hit to our outboard fuel tank, and while we leaked fuel, we had enough to complete the mission.  On the final pass, our navigation heater was knocked out, and Sgts. Schwartze and OíReilly both flamed a 190 apiece!

 

Flak was light, and we were on target with our bombing run and dropped the payload at 30%.  We tightened up formation again on our approach home and were greeted (4th zone inbound) by two Me-109s at the 10:30 low and 12 level.  Schwartze again had ice in his veins as he took one out on his second pass at us.  Only superficial damage that time.

 

Then (zone 2 inbound), we encountered three Me-109s and all three passed at us without any damage.  Sgt. Johnson managed to hit one and cause enough damage he broke off the attack.

 

As we were returning to base, the starboard engine finally gave out.  However, we feathered her in and taxied back to the squadron. The crew chief had a look of concern, but a big smile as we brought her home in one piece.

 

Debriefing notes. The doc gave me hell over LeFevre, saying I subjected him to frostbite and it was my decision that put him at risk.  I told the doc that no sir, it was the Germans who put him at risk and we were all trying to make the war end earlier. At least all my men came back.  Now I have to go check up on Gibbins.

 

- 1st Lt. Steve Hartline, Pilot, Delta Blues


TULE LAKE SAMURAI II , lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Took off from Sterparone Field, Foggia, Italy without any problems or malfunctions.

 

Two hundred miles (200) away from base we were attacked by one (1) Me-109 doing a VERTICAL DIVE on us; luckily the plane missed our bomber and didnít return.

 

About one hundred miles (100) away from target we spotted bogies coming in from 1:30 level.  They were repulsed by machine gun fire from the bomber formation before they were able to attack.

 

Just before we reached the target we were attacked by two (2) Me-109ís coming in from, 1:30 and 3 o'clock and one (1) Fw-190 coming in from 12 high.  The fighter coming in from 3 level was chased away by fighters of the 325th Fighter Group and the other fighters missed our bomber and didnít return.

 

We encountered light flak which didnít hit the plane, we were able to find the target and put 30% of the load on target.

 

On the turn back we encountered bogies coming in from 9 level.  They were chased away by a combination of machine gun fire from the bomb group and fighters from the 325th Fighter Group.

 

Seventy Five (75) miles away from target we were attacked by two (2) Me-109ís coming in from 12 level and 1:30 high.  One was chased away by fighters from the 325th Fighter Group while the one coming in from 12 level missed the bomber and didnít return.

 

One hundred (100) miles from base bogies were again spotted coming in from 1:30 level but again they didnít attack the bomber formation.

 

About seventy-five (75) miles away from base a lone Me-109 attacked at 1:30 high.  The cheek gun manned by 2nd Lt. Ben Takai was able to do superficial damage to the fighter which caused it to miss the bomber and not to return.

 

Reached Sterparone Field and landed without incident.

 

- 1st Lt. Ken Shimizu, Pilot, Tule Lake Samurai II


318th BS (Middle)

ZEBRA'S REVENGE, Third flight, Lead Aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Mission was totally uneventful.  The only enemy aircraft seen were those engaging our little buddies.  FLAK never came close and we hit the target for 40%.

 

- Major Mick Mikula, Pilot, Zebra's Revenge


QUIEN SABE, Third flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 0%.  Fell out-of-formation prior to reaching target zone (zone 4).  Returned alone on 2 starboard engines only, port aileron, navigator's equipment and bomb release mechanism inoperable (after drop), loss of radio, damaged tail wheel and 5 casualties.  Claims: 2 Me-109s by SSgt. Lovell, 1 Me-109 apiece by 2nd Lt. Nagel, Sgt. Jones and Sgt. De Lavier (2nd Lt. Nagel & Sgt. De Lavier's claims were later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

On the way out to Treviso we hit waves of bandits and over the ocean we lost our number 2 engine to an Fw-190 as well as our port wing aileron.  We chose to continue to the target as fighter cover was good and the boys were in form with there guns.  In hindsight, I have sacrificed the lives of 3 more crew and am riddled in guilt, but that's the norm for this damn war.

 

As we dropped out of formation and approached the target at low speed we were waiting for it to kick off.  A shout from the ball turret (Allen) indicated that the bomb bay had been hit, but nothing happened.  Our 'lil friends did their best to stay with us and we owe them a few beers.

 

The bomb run was way off target, we didn't take our speed into account and they fell well short.

 

Turning out of the target zone we momentarily picked up our speed and the lads took out two 109's - there was enough to choose from as they wouldn't leave us alone.  We lost our navigator (Elliot) at this point as well as Lovell in the top turret.  Our port waist took out an Fw-190 before his buddy took out our #3 engine - 2nd mission in a row and we're coming in on 2 engines way after the rest of the guys.

 

Approaching home we got stuffed with hits all down the fuselage as we'd lost so much airspeed despite descending to 10,000 feet. This is where we lost a lot of the bombardiers equipment, the tail wheel, use of the radio and navigator controls.  We sadly lost Jones here too - it was his first outing after returning from the infirmary.

 

As we approached the airfield, we could see nobody around, as we'd lost our radio, no one really knew where we were, but we landed safely - 7 of us anyway.

 

- 1st Lt. Gary Johnstone, Pilot, Quien Sabe


399th BS (HIGH)

LUCY QUIPMENT, Lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 94%.  Fell-out-of-formation zone-3 inbound.  Returned with the port wing flap, the radio room oxygen supply inoperable, the radio and rubber rafts destroyed, control cables damaged, superficial damage to the port wing, nose, bomb bay, radio, waist & tail (2) compartments, and 2 casualties.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Phelps and 1 Me-109 by Sgt. Thompson.
 

Mission Narrative:

Our take off and form up went without a hitch, the 325th Fighter Group did an outstanding job along the way.  The Jerries did not put up much of a fuss until just before we reached the target area.  Then we were jumped by two groups of fighters, the first consisted of three Fw-190s.  We were lucky and they all missed us, the second group was driven off  by defensive fire from the group.

 

As we approached the target the flak zeroed in on us.  Just before reaching the aiming point we were hit twice by flak. The ship was hit suffering superficial damage to the nose, radio room and waist.  Sgt. Cox suffered a minor wound to the left leg.  Despite the flak Lt. Phelps managed to place almost all of our bomb load on the target.

 

We were doing fine on the way home, about 75 miles from the Italian coast when several enemy fighters slipped past the boys from the 325th.  A group of Fw-190s managed to shot us up pretty good.  We suffered superficial damage to the port wing, radio room and tail.  Another walked hits from the tail to the nose, causing superficial damage to the tail and nose.  We lost the control cables in the waist, oxygen in the radio room and our life raft.  Lt. Ito suffered a minor wound to his left wrist.  Another group of Me-109s followed the first group.  The crew put up a good amount of fire, Lt. Phelps shot the wing of a 109 coming in from 12 o'clock and Sgt Thompson badly damage an Fw-190 coming in from 6 o'clock forcing the pilot to bail out.  The last fighter knocked out our radio and shot up the bomb bay.  With the oxygen out in the radio room we were forced to drop out of formation.

 

After dropping through some clouds we lost the remaining enemy fighters and safely return to base.  Both Lt Ito and Sgt Cox will be returning to duty in a few days.

 

- Major. Art DeFilippo, Commander 399th Bomb Squadron, Pilot, Lucy Quipment


CIVIC DUTY II, lead flight, right wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Reached target but did not bomb due to jammed doors.  Returned to base with 1 casualty and 9 crew men bailed out over base.  Pilot flew aircraft to sea and abandoned aircraft before reaching the sea.  Aircraft was lost at sea.

 

Mission Synopsis:

Take off and form up went without incident.  The outbound leg was fairly quiet, our escorts managed to keep the heat off of us until the formation crossed back over land.  Then we were hit by a group of 190s.  They shot up my compartment; breaking a couple of windows; and but missing us. They hit both wings, the tail, and the waist; hitting Sgt. Bailey in the arm.  They came back around, and shot up the wings and my instrument panel.  They banked around for a third pass, this time targeting the port wing and the bomb bay.  They managed to punch the port fuel tank, and jam our bomb bay doors.

 

Flak was mercifully light, and the port wing tank managed to self-seal, but it still looked like we still were still losing a little fuel from the hole.

 

We stayed with the rest of the formation, until we approached the base, then I dropped down and ordered the crew to bail out.  I turned the plane east and headed for the ocean.  As I approached the coast the auto pilot was doing its job without any problems, so I bailed out just before I crossed out over the water.  I didn't see her go down, but she couldn't have gotten too much further, the fuel gauges were on empty.

 

- 1st Lt. Glen Short, Pilot, Civic Duty II


LAURELEE, Lead flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with starboard flap inoperable; hits to outboard port fuel tank (self-seal); holes in wings and fuselage, and 1 casualty.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Finster, and 1 Fw-190 shared by 2nd Lt. Finster and SSgt. Gates.

 

Mission Narrative:

Fairly quiet on the way in.  The Checkertails did a good job keeping the Krauts off us, and those that did get through attacked other bombers, not us.  One did try a run at us from the front, but Frank got him with the chin turret guns.

 

Over target, another German dived down on us from above, but did no damage.  Flak was light and didn't hit us, so we pasted the target good.

 

It was on the way back that the Germans really started to hit us hard.  They must have broken through the fighter cover, for they chased us out over the Adriatic, coming at us from all sides.  One came at us three times.  Frank and Al got another one, and Hooker scratched one coming up behind us.  They put a lot of holes in us, shot out the starboard flap, and in one of the last passes got Al. He died quick, the medics told us.  It got so bad that the squadron CO's plane dropped out of formation halfway home, and we had to take over the lead spot.  Fortunately the Krauts left us alone at that point, and we made it back safe.  All except poor Al, of course.

 

 - 2nd Lt. Bill Hern, Pilot, Laurelee


CAROLINA LADY II, Second flight, left aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-110 by Sgt. Holly.

 

Mission Narrative:

Take off and Assembly went fine.  We saw a few E/A on the way to the target but the escorts kept them off us.

 

We bombed okay--after the turn the for home the Krauts were all over us for about 150 miles.  Sgt. Holly in the tail raked an Me-110 that tried to hit us from 12 low--Stein called it out as it went past and Holly nailed it.  Both Stein and Barnes each damaged an Fw-190 when three of them made a head-on attack.  The Krauts really worked over the squadron lead and he had to drop out of formation.  A couple of our escorts went with him--he was still in the air the last we saw him.  We landed okay.

 

- Capt. Mark Choate, Pilot, Carolina Lady II


MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, Second flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with intercom system and radio inoperable, and 1 minor casualty. 

 

Mission Narrative:

Four 109s attacked 50 miles South of Terni.  One was driven off by the fighter cover and the three remaining fired at us and flashed by.  It was a quick hit and run attack.

 

There were no fighters near us until a lone 110 tried a vertical climb attack over the target, but he was driven off by the P-47s.

 

On the return leg a single 109 got away from the Checkertails and attacked from 6 high.  Most of his hits were in the radio room. TSgt. Sullivan was hit in the head, but the bullet only grazed him and left an ugly scratch, that will impress his lady friends.  This 109 came around for a second attack, hit and destroyed the radio and was driven off two P-47s

 

- 1st Lt. Paul Day, Pilot, Midnight Express


MAWIMAZO, Second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned out for formation with co-pilot's oxygen system inoperable, damage to the starboard wing root,  a few superficial holes to the fuselage and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 apiece by Sgt. Vetter & SSgt. Herndon & 1 Me-109 by 2nd Lt. Ballentine (later confirmed by S-2).

 

Mission Narrative:

We had a very successful mission for our maiden voyage aboard the Mawimazo.  We had a smooth flight in, and we didn't encounter any resistance until we hit the coast.  We were buzzed by a 190 as we hit the Italian coast, and a lot of lead was flying around but nobody hit anything.  The veterans have been razzing us pretty good with horror stories of cherry crews, and warning us plenty about the importance of formation flying, and we sure saw it in action as we hit the coastline -- looked like there was a bunch of Jerries getting ready to come after us, but the boys in the formation laid down enough fire to scare them off.

 

As we lined up on the IP for our bombing run, the fighter cover drove off the 109 that looked like he was thinking about taking a shot at us, and Lt. Ballentine was able to get a nice bead on the yards, dumping 20% right on target.

 

The Jerries hit us harder on the way out, as we got jumped by four 190s as we turned for home, hitting us at 12 level, 1:30 level, 3 low and 9 high.  The boys responded well, laying down fire on all of the bandits, and Sgt. Vetter scored our first kill when he blew the plane at 3 low out of the sky.  The head-on attack was a bit hairy, as we could hear shells hitting the plane, but no significant damage resulted.  That Jerry came at us a second time from head-on, but SSgt. Herndon lit him up from the top turret and I watched in amazement as that fighter just disintegrated in front of my eyes.

 

It was quiet for a few minutes, but then we got hit again by four 109s over the Adriatic.  They came at us from 12 high, 3 high, 9 high and 9 level -- the head-on attack was thwarted by the fighter cover, who sent him off trailing smoke, but our guys couldn't stop the dual attack from the port side.  The Jerry at 9 level hit us pretty good, knocking out Lt. McCarty's oxygen, scoring a hit on our port wing root and adding a few more holes to the plane, but when he came around for a second frontal attack, Lt. Ballentine took off his left wing from the chin guns.  We had to drop out of formation to get McCarty some breathable air, but luck was with us and we made it the rest of the way back without incident.

 

Overall, I'm very pleased with the gunnery skills our boys, and I'm sure we'll all be buying drinks for our formation mates for helping to see us through our first mission.

 

- 1st Lt. Todd Fairbanks, Pilot, Mawimazo


318th BS (HIGH)

GOLDEN SPIKE, Third flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Reached target zone but a runaway engine prop was not feathered; plane abandoned over the target zone, 10 chutes seen.

 

Mission Narrative:

Nearing the target a swarm of Fw-190s attacked the Golden Spike from around the clock.  Our escorts managed to drive one away, and their tail gunner hammered a Jerry making a run from 6 o'clock high.  Their guns were blazing and I wouldn't be surprised if they damaged a couple more bandits including the guy from 3 o'clock high who managed to shoot up their wings pretty bad (walking hits -- wings).  Capt. Wilson radioed that they had a runaway engine and it wouldn't feather.  I saw all ten chutes leave the plane.

 

- From the debriefing report of 2nd Lt.  Nelson Reinsch, Co-pilot, 8-Ball


BAWLMER BETTY, Third flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with port wing root damage, superficial damage to port wing, port aileron, and to the fuselage on port side, no casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

A very calm mission for us.  Made it all the way to the target before we were attacked.  Good coverage by our escorts allowed us to damage one of their Fw-190s without being hit ourselves.  Light flak over the rail yards was totally ineffective; we placed 30% of our bombs on target.

 

Turning for home, we were again jumped by a wave of three 109s.  Two scored some minor hits along our port side, but then turned for home themselves.  The escorts again did a good job of keeping the enemy off our backs until we were almost over our field, when a lone Fw-190 sneaked past them, made one last pass and ran back north.  We then landed safely without further incident.

 

- Capt  Mark Beyer, Pilot, Bawlmer Betty


8-BALL, Third flight, left wingman 

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Returned with a few superficial damage to the fuselage and nose compartment, and no casualties. Claims: 1 Fw-190 by 2nd Lt. Shipley.

 

Mission Narrative:

On the way to the target we ran into a 190 that did some superficial damage to the nose.  We didn't have any other enemy fighters attack us on the was to the target.

 

Flak over the target was light.  We did not receive any damage due to flak.  2nd Lt. Brittain was able to get 20% of the bombs on target.

 

We were then jumped by three 190s.  One 190 was driven off by our escorts, but the other two got in some superficial fuselage hits.  On their second pass one of the 190s was damaged and missed on his attack, while the other 190 was destroyed by 2nd Lt. Shipley.

 

We only saw two other enemy fighters, both planes were driven off by our escorts.  The landing was uneventful.

 

- 1st Lt. James Dolph, Co-pilot, 8-Ball


316th BS (Low)

STRAIGHT FLUSH, Lead flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned without damage or casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

Excellent fighter cover today.  We experienced no enemy attacks until we were midway towards the target.  Although we weren't attacked, our left wingman, Lt. Bertolino's crew in Nightwing, came under attack from a diving Me-109 that raked Bertolino's ship from back-to-front.  My crew reported seeing white smoke coming out from the waist openings.

 

Flak over the target was light but a few burst came very close to give my new crew a scare but we came through unscathed.  Lt. Benson took over and made a good drop.  Right after the bomb drop, Lt. Bertolino reported he would have to drop out of formation due to an oxygen fire (probably the smoke reported earlier).

 

At the rally point, automatically without being told, the veteran Captain McConnell closed up the gaps with the Satin Doll, while the other veteran flight leader, Captain Chase with his flight consisting of Lts. Calder and Windley, closed up right behind us.

 

Just reaching the coastline south of Treviso, we saw our only enemy fighters of the day when a pair of Me-109s came in head-on.  Both fighters missed while Lt. Hedges managed to damage one fighter using one of his cheek guns.

 

For the rest of the mission, the Jugs kept the enemy at bay.  Landing back at base was routine and uneventful.

 

- Major Daniel Tanner, Pilot, Straight Flush, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)


SATIN DOLL, Lead flight, right wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with without damage of casualties. 

 

Mission Narrative:

The Treviso mission turned out to be a real milk-run thanks to extremely aggressive fighter cover.  Not a single E/A got close enough for us to get a bead on it.

 

Nearing the IP, Nightwing was hit pretty hard.  They stayed with us to the target, went through the light, inaccurate flak and dropped with the rest of the formation.  PJ got 30% of our load into the main switching ladder of the marshalling yards, destroying a good amount of rolling stock.

 

Rallying off target, Nightwing called in that they were dropping out of formation.  As they dropped back trailing smoke, we tightened up on Straight Flush's right wing a little more and headed for home.  On the return, the escort boys earned their pay chits by keeping the swarming Krauts at bay.

 

After a smooth landing, we were met at the hardstand by a beaming Pops Hardison smiling broadly.  He knew that his crew would have very little work to do to ready the Doll for her next run, and most of all, his boys had made it back without a scratch.

 

Observations:

  1. Extremely aggressive escort to and from target contributed greatly to the success of the mission.

  2. Near target area, enemy radio chatter intercepted. Communications observed in German and Italian.

- Capt. J.P. McConnell, Pilot, A/C 42-11806 Satin Doll, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)


NIGHTWING, Lead flight, left wingman

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 20%.  Fell out-of-formation after bomb run from oxygen fire and returned to base alone.  Landed with fire damage to the waist oxygen system, damage to the rudder and cockpit windows, superficial damage to fuselage (3), to the nose, bomb bay, radio compartments and no casualties.

 

Mission Narrative:

We tucked in behind and to the left of Straight Flush, the lead bomber in our squadron, as we grouped up in the low squadron.  Not ideal for a green crew but we had been fully trained so no doubt expected to be able to perform.  Weather was good as we set out over the Adriatic picking up the 325th Jugs as we crossed the coast.  What worried me was that we were the smallest and most vulnerable box having only our squadron of six the high and middle formations being reinforced by an extra two each from the 318th.  The Krauts werenít stupid they would go for the smallest most vulnerable formation - I felt it would be us.

 

We did not see any fighters anywhere near us until we were over half way to the target.  Up until then the fighters picked on the high formation and anybody else but us.  Maybe the Krauts were stupid or we were just lucky.  We saw at least one plane come down surrounded by a hornetís nest of fighters on the way out, donít know who it was.  I felt for those guys but down deep in my heart there was a little voice that said Ďthank Christ it was not usí.  As we passed beyond the half way stage we realized that for the first time there were fighters zeroing in on us.  However both sets got jumped by the P-47s and got chased away before they came in range.  I guess we must have got a little complacent at that point because as we were just coming up on the IP when this Me-109 appeared out of nowhere in a vertical dive.  Both the top turret and radio room opened up but were well wide of the target.  This guy must have been good he had come down through the high and middle formations and then hit us along the entire length of the plane.  The pilotsí window got hit and the rudder had a chunk taken out of it.  We got holes in the nose, bomb bay and radio room, although the damage in those areas was minimal.  However the worst was in the waist where a shell burst amongst the oxygen tanks and before we knew what was happening the waist gunners were fighting a fire.  Thankfully no one was hurt and we managed to put the fire out however we lost the oxygen supply in the waist.  We stayed with the formation as the flak came up at us over the target but it was well wide and we did not take any further damage.  We did hit the target which meant that we had not wasted our journey.  We called in that we were going to have to drop down to a lower altitude and we dived down to lower altitude away from the protective support of the rest of the squadron with the flak following us down.

 

We thought we were dead for sure but the flak was lackluster and behind and above us following us half-heartedly.  We expected enemy fighters but none seemed to have noticed us.  As we crossed the coast a pair of Me-109s turned in towards us but just as they were lining up for an attack a couple of P-47s dived onto them and chased them down and below us.  Itís moments like that when you really appreciate what those guys do.  Those Me-109s were real persistent as they turned up again just after we passed the half way point back.  They were still being chased by the Jugs but they split formation one pulled the jugs away whilst the other made a head on attack.  his time the top turret got hits but this Kraut was determined.  And he kept coming his tracer coming high and wide of us and no hits.  The tail gunner tried a shot but was nowhere near . . . We saw the Me-109 come about to attack us again, the Jugs had disappeared hunting the other Me-109.  Once again our enemy made a head on pass this time our guns failed to hit him and his shots went beneath us.  His third attack was just like the other two dead ahead level, once again we missed and the plane shook and rattled as his cannon shells hit.  He must have been out of ammo because rather then come round for another attack he broke away from us and disappeared.

 

After that last attack we say no more fighters the two P-47 turned up again and flew us home.  They did a victory roll and waggled their wings so they either got that other Me-109 or were just really nervous that we would fire at them.  They left us as we crossed the coast and we lined up for the landing pattern at Sterparone Field.  We had made it.

 

- 1st Lt. Steve Bertolino, Pilot, Nightwing


OLD YARD DOG, Second flight, lead aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 40%.  Returned with radio inoperable, a damaged windscreen, damage to the rudder and to both wing roots, and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 by MSgt. Post.

 

Mission Narrative:

Form up went well enough. We had the last element lead of the group, the Tail-end Charlie area.  I hate that slot . . .

 

Everything was smooth flying until we got over Italy where some 109s took a liking to us.  But our fighters took care of most of them.

 

Once at the IP, everything broke loose! The flak was light so the Luftwaffe decided to chance it with their fighters and flew into us until we dropped our eggs and beyond.  We got 40% on target for our trouble but lost the radio, a windscreen hit, and the port wing root took some light damage.

 

Our fighters seemed to disappear about the same time I remember.  The Krauts stayed with us for a while longer and pounded the rudder and the starboard wing root.  Then they were gone and our fighters returned too.  Coincidence?  We shot down a 109 taking a pot shot at us from the engineer's guns about 100 miles from home.  He left smoking, going straight down.

 

We landed smoothly and another one was in the books.  Norman, Ted, and I have 35+ plus missions.  We are hoping to hear from Hq about going home!

 

- Capt. Michael Chase, Pilot, Old Yard Dog


ROUGH TIMES, Second flight, right aircraft

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 30%.  Returned with tail wheel inoperable, damage to the ball turret oxygen lines and four superficial fuselage hits. (40 Damage points per Peckham's damage chart), and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Fw-190 by SSgt. Branco.

 

Mission Narrative:

With only one fighter getting through, our fighters cover chased off all but one and this one was severely damaged by Sgt. Arcuri's guns.  Over the IP many Me-109s that the P-47s dispatched again, attacked us, leaving one for Sgt. Kelemen to damage and force him to miss.

 

Flak was light and inaccurate, missing us completely. Lieutenant Geist did a good job of putting around 30% on the mark.

 

On the return trip we saw more Me-109s over the target city and with a little help from the P-47s we chased them off again, with MSgt. Branco shooting down a Fw-190.

 

The rest of the trip was good as twice our own bombers drove off any pending enemy fighter attacks.  This trip was good for the boys, as they fell their luck growing (Random Event "7" Rabbit's Foot).

 

Mission Summery:

  1. Crew Status: Fit and ready for duty.

  2. Aircraft Status: Ready for the next mission (40 pts Damage - Peckham's Chart)

  3. Claims: Seventeen enemy aircraft encountered, 11 driven off by our fighters.

    SSgt. R. Branco, 1 Fw-190 Destroyed, 1 Fw-190 damaged and 1 Me-109 probable.

    Sgt. R. Arcuri, 1 Fw-190 probable

    2nd Lt. F. Geist, 1 Fw-190 damaged

    Sgt. D. Keleman, 1 Me-109 damaged

    Sgt. D. Keleman, 1 Me-109 damaged

- 1st Lt. Peter Windley, Pilot, B-17G 43-7229 Rough Times, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)


NORTHERN DREAM, Second flight, left wingman  (TAIL-END CHARLIE)

 

Mission Synopsis:

Bombed target, 50%.  Returned with pilots' compartment instruments damaged, and superficial damage to the bomb bay compartment, and no casualties.  Claims: 1 Me-109 apiece by Sgts. Smith & Peagood and 1 Me-109 apiece shared by SSgt. Ludwolf & Sgt. Peterson and by SSgt. Ludwolf and Sgt. Peagood.

 

Mission Narrative:

Enemy picked us up not long into the mission when we encountered a group of 4 Me-109s; two were chased off by fighter cover; one was damaged and one shot down by the tail gunner.

 

Just a little further on and a group of 5 Me-109s engaged us; one was chased off by friendlies & we exchanged fire with others but failed to damage or shoot any down.  They left soon after seeing that we were putting up a stiff resistance.  A group of Fw-190s took an interest but were moved on by fighter cover.

 

Over the target, a flight of 3 Me-109s picked us up; the ball turret took one down and the others left following the fire-fight.  A further group consisting of 2 Me-109s and a Me-110 took us on but, to no avail.

 

Flak was light on the bomb run and no hits were taken.  We managed to put our load down square on target achieving a good 50% hit ratio.

 

On the way back some of the planes that picked us up on the way in appeared to be awaiting our return.  A flight of 3 Me-109s came on in but this time the flight engineer and port waist gunner shared a kill; the others bugged out!  The last bit of action was saw was another flight of 3 Me-109s; again we knocked one down and the others legged it when some fighter cover arrived!

 

The ship held up pretty well and although we took some damage, most was superficial stuff.  The worst of it was when a few rounds knocked out some of the instrument panel which gave us a little trouble when it came to getting back down to earth at base and more worrying at the time was when a few rounds ricocheted around the bomb bay just after we had started our final alignment on the target -- now that was close and boy were we relieved to let those bombs go! All in all we did well; no casualties and another good mission.  I know our luck cant hold all the time but, for now we sure are grateful!

 

- 1st Lt. Jim Calder, Pilot, Northern Dream, 316th Bomb Squadron, 88th Bomb Group (H)


 

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